Cornyn: Senate to vote on defunding Planned Parenthood

Cornyn: Senate to vote on defunding Planned Parenthood

The No. 2 Senate Republican on Monday promised a vote to defund Planned Parenthood “as soon as this week.”

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas Castro, Warren, Harris to speak at Texas Democratic virtual convention Democratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight MORE (R-Texas) made the announcement on Twitter late Monday as the Senate prepared for a late-night vote on the highway funding bill — a measure that several Republicans hoped would include a Planned Parenthood amendment.

Senate GOP leaders had already decided on Friday to fast-track the Planned Parenthood funding bill onto the floor, facing mounting pressure from rank-and-file Republicans outraged by the organization’s undercover video scandal.

ADVERTISEMENT

Planned Parenthood has been targeted by an anti-abortion group that is using hidden camera footage that claims Planned Parenthood is making illegal deals in its fetal tissue donation program.

Defunding the women's health provider has become a major sticking point in the power battle between Senate leadership and a small core of conservatives, led by Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged Iranian sanction violations On The Money: Trump signs order targeting social media firms' legal protections | 2M more Americans file new jobless claims, pushing total past 40M | White House to forgo summer economic forecast amid COVID-19, breaking precedent MORE (R-Texas) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHouse punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate House cancels planned Thursday vote on FISA This week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting MORE (R-Utah), that came to a head over the last week.

A trio of firebrand GOP senators — Lee, Cruz and Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSecond senator tests positive for coronavirus antibodies Senate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks Tim Kaine tests positive for COVID-19 antibodies MORE (R-Ky.) — had tried to force a vote on defunding Planned Parenthood by attaching it as an amendment to the highway bill. The effort to do so was rebuked by the vast majority of their GOP colleagues on Sunday.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) claimed during a fiery Senate floor speech on Friday that Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe Overnight Health Care: Trump says US 'terminating' relationship with WHO | Cuomo: NYC on track to start reopening week of June 8 | COVID-19 workplace complaints surge 10 things to know today about coronavirus MORE (R-Ky.) was blocking the vote.

"There are a host of amendments that the American people are focused on, things like defunding Planned Parenthood after the gruesome video,” Cruz said during a floor speech condemning McConnell. “The majority leader doesn't want to vote on that. That's actually something the American people are focused on."

ADVERTISEMENT

During the next session, Cornyn took the floor with a fierce rebuttal against his junior Texas colleague, blasting his strategy as “a terrible mistake.”

Momentum is also growing in the House for a vote to defund Planned Parenthood. The chamber’s No. 2 Republican, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), said Monday he supports a moratorium on the group’s funding until investigations can prove the group was not involved in any wrongdoing, as claimed by the videos.

It’s not clear if the Senate bill would impose a temporary ban on federal funding during the ongoing investigations or if the measure would be intended to be more permanent.

Either way, it is sure to be halted by the Obama administration, which has publicly defended Planned Parenthood.